When some people read my novel Five Nights in Harlem they will almost assuredly come out believing that I am some sort of an ideologue. But these people obviously have poor reading comprehension and clearly didn’t get the gist of what I was trying to say. When I mentioned positive things about both Bill Maher and Sean Hannity, how clouded in my thinking by some narrow minded ideological worldview could I possibly be?
The problem with this is that I have indeed met and talked to various people, and remain friends with those who are all over the political spectrum. If one only talks to others who have an almost parallel way of looking at the world around them, and who in turn also hang out with only those who think in highly similar terms, that person will have a great deal more in common with a horse wearing blinders than they would ever like to admit. This is how groupthink comes about.
Conservatives and liberals are constantly criticizing each other for being closed minded and for blatantly ignoring the facts whenever it suits their political agenda. And you want to know something: they’re both right. One of the people that I regularly converse with, mostly via email now, is a hardcore liberal/borderline communist who is rabidly anti-capitalism and thinks that Naomi Klein is one of the greatest intellectuals on the planet. The fact that she has advocated multiple times for state ownership of factories and resources doesn’t seem to phase him the slightest bit. Her never ending moral relativism doesn’t seem to have bothered him either. He views the world in a very simple and binary way, good verses evil, right versus wrong, fair versus unfair, you get the drift.
And some of my other friends who are on the Far Right also see the world in a remarkably similar fashion, just from a polar opposite direction. But my point here is that their thought processes are in fact remarkably similar. They seem almost incapable of seeing shades of grey, or in being able to calmly evaluate the facts of the matter at hand and come to form an opinion in a dispassionate manner. Those on the extremes of either side of the political spectrum are also extremely self-righteous in their viewpoints. It is all about emotion and the strong need for never ending self-validation. And this pathetic, juvenile cycle cannot be interrupted without incurring a significant backlash.
This led to my having a bit of an epiphany several years back where I finally realized that one of the reasons why these sorts of people, and this also applies to religious fanatics, get so upset whenever I would point out logical flaws and factual inaccuracies in their arguments is that they would never take what I said at face value. They took it as a direct threat to their person. As if my forming a counterargument posed some sort of a threat to their very existence. I was in essence invalidating them, their friends, and everything that they stood for, including their sense of a personal identity when debating with them.
This is one of the reasons why when children are growing up it is of such imminent importance to expose them to not just a wide variety of differing worldviews, but to many different life experiences as well. The number of people who grow up to become jihadists who weren’t raised in an overwhelmingly Muslim community, whose parents and close friends weren’t devout followers of the child-raping prophet is incredibly small. Yes, these people do exist, but they represent a statistical anomaly. Just look at how many left to join ISIS who lived in Minnesota, and then compare and contrast that with how many joined the terrorist group who lived in Idaho or Montana #DemographicsMatter.
We have red states and blue states here in this country, and this is not by chance. Furthermore, one can even break down the politics in this country by taking note of just exactly what type of motor vehicles people are purchasing. If they are driving a Ford F-150, it is a safe bet to assume they despise the Sierra Club and probably own at least one firearm. I will just leave it at that one example for now and spare you from having to go through an exhaustive and mind-numbing list which would only further serve to prove my point.
This is one of the reasons why when you are researching something online, or trying to make a decision about anything of even moderate importance, do yourself a favor and keep an open mind. I always try to read different articles by those with varying worldviews in order to better understand not only the facts at hand, but almost as important, how people feel about them and their ongoing rationalizations for doing so. I have read Paul Krugman and Thomas Sowell; and I don’t read Krugman just to look for ammunition in his own work to use against him later on. That is only something that a chump would do, or a pathetic little Internet troll who lives in their parent’s basement. I live in a van down by the river, there is a big difference, alright.